Korryn Gaines

According to an in-depth report from WBALTV, Korryn Gaines, the Randallstown (MD) woman who held her child hostage in an apparently premeditated day-long armed standoff with tactical officers before being shot and killed was confirmed to have long suffered from lead poisoning.

Gaines suffered from lead poisoning which can interfere with rational thinking, 11 News has learned.

According to records from a lawsuit Gaines filed against several landlords, a doctor said that “Korryn was exposed to a sea of lead when she lived in lead-contaminated houses. She does have a neurodevelopmental disability and brain damage.”

Her mother said in a deposition that, “She didn’t want to listen. She has poor decision making skills. I think she needs guidance.”

Advocates said those are characteristics of the effects of lead poisoning.

The effects of lead are particularly pronounced on children, and a 2014 report notes that early childhood lead exposure can lead to pronounced aggression and criminal behavior.

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Lead exposure in children primarily comes from exposure to lead paint chips and lead paint dust, but can also come from lead in water, lead solder in some foreign canned goods, and some traditional Hispanic and asian home remedies. Lead from firearms ammunition and primers is not a significant factor.

The presence of lead in the body can easily be detected with a simple finger prick blood test.

The Mayo Clinic notes:

A level of 5 mcg/dL or higher indicates your child may have unsafe levels of lead in their blood and should have their blood tested periodically. If levels become too high — generally 45 mcg/dL or higher — your child should be treated.

The lowest levels can be treated by simply removing the source of exposure. In the United States, most children are exposed to lead due to living in older residences with lead-based paints, and experts state that the exposure can be minimized by simply sealing the lead-based paint by applying layers of regular latex house paint over top of it.

Children exposed to higher levels of lead-based paint may have to undergo one of two kinds of therapy that remove lead from the body. Chelation therapy binds lead so that it can be safely excreted through urine, while EDTA or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid therapy is used in more extreme cases.

But what can we do about those cases where those poisoned by lead were not treated in time, where the victims of high levels of lead exposure and dangerous brain damaged like Korryn Gaines, or another infamous lead-poisoned person from Maryland, Freddie Gray? What do we do about the thousands who may have sustained damage in the Flint, Michigan water disaster, or who are stuck in decaying homes and neighborhoods around the country?

If the research is correct and heavy lead exposure leads to permanent brain damage linked to high levels of criminal violence and unwarranted aggression, then it seems that those affected should be added to the list of persons prohibited from possessing firearms.